- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - An intelligence division in Las Cruces is expected to consolidate information from federal databases to pursue criminal trends in the county, a county sheriff in New Mexico said.

The in-house intelligence division will be staffed with sheriff’s office staff and outside intelligence analysts from federal programs, Las Cruces Sun-News reports.

It is unclear how much the division would cost.

The Dona Ana County sheriff’s office is seeking to have access to federal databases meant for law enforcement with high security clearances, but clearances have not yet been provided, Sheriff Kim Stewart said.

The sheriff’s office currently shares pertinent information with federal agencies as part of an informal law enforcement relationship, Stewart said. However, the department does not handle a lot of sensitive information, because the office lacks staff with security clearances, she said.

Databases from agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security could aid the department in pursuing leads to bust bigger criminal operations, Stewart said.

The intelligence division could either consolidate and act on information or distribute it to patrol deputies, she said.

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